Dawat A Treat Indian Restaurant, 75 Pier St, Altona. Phone: 9398 8159
A non-meat thali for $14.90?
Sounds a bit on the pricey side to me … but I’m game, especially as Dawat A Treat is such a nice room in which to be contemplating lunch.
The rather anonymous frontage – the restaurant has been open only a few months but I have no recall what was here previously – gives way to a long, cool room.
The chairs are plush and comfy, and each and every table is crowned with a jolly, brightly coloured and ornamentally adorned parasol.
The long, regulation menu (no Indo-Chinese here) lists vegetable curry mains for about $15, meat varieties for $16-$17 and seafood for $16-$22, so the thali charge makes sense.
My thali looks and tastes a treat, and is a joy in almost every way.
Crisp papadum joined by a fresh, moist naan.
Silky smooth spinach puree perfumed with whole cardamoms and a single star anise seed.
A bright mix of cauliflower, courgette, peas and potato in which the protagonists all retain a satisfying degree of bite.
A fabulous, smooth dal flavoured with curry leaves and mustard seeds.
All of the above seem to be of a spice level just a notch above mild.
The only jarring note – and one easily discarded given the quality of the rest – is the overly sweet raita.
It’s only as I go to pay for my meal that I discover my fretting over a few dollars here and there has been misplaced if not completely out of line.
Because the $14.95 fee also covers the can of soft drink I have indulged in AND I’ve still got dessert to come.
For a meal of this quality and presentation, this is all starting to look like a bargain!
A single, gorgeous gulab jamun dumpling is a hot, plump and wholly scrumptious pleasure bomb residing is sticky syrup and topped with shredded coconut.